Dillon Beach, California

Dillon Beach, California was a beautiful and romantic get-away for my boyfriend, dog, and I.  We arrived at Lawson’s Landing late at night through heavy fog on a Friday night.  We quickly set up camp despite the freezing cold temperature – and got right into our sleeping bags.  I bought my dog a special camping bed – temperpedic to boot – but due to the cold night, my 90-pound black lab/pit-bull was cuddled in between the two of us shivering until we let him under the covers.

Saturday, we woke up early as the sun woke up around 6am.  We had the entire day ahead of us and I only had plans to that would occupy our morning.  We set up our campsite “kitchen” and had a bowl of cereal… we then walked Biggie Smalls up and down the road to scope out the campsite area.  We picked up some fire wood and attempted to build a fire but failed – we needed lighter fluid and brush.  Notated, what we needed to build a successful fire, we decided we would pick up those items after lunch.  Danny made sandwiches and we packed them in a day bag.

We drove south down the coast towards Pointe Reyes Station on highway 1.  We stopped at Hog Island Oyster Company to pick up a dozen of my most favorite oysters.  I am an oyster queen – I could eat them all day and absolutely love those things!  Danny…not so much a fan.  We bought a bottle of their Hog Island Oyster white wine which they said paired great with the oysters.

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On our drive, back, we stopped by some large boulder rock formations on our way into the town of Tamales.  There we could see out over the coast and the landscapes were that very like Ireland.  We stopped there for lunch and let Biggie run around for a while.

By the time we got back to the campsite it was just a little before noon.  We decided to hit the bait shop by the campgrounds for lighter fluid, snacks, smore’s goodies, and hoodies (because it was super cold).  We walked with Biggie by the bay, and hung out on the beach for a few hours tossing his toy around and just chilling, taking in the breathtaking scenery.

I couldn’t get over how much this area of California reminds me of Ireland. Although I went there when I was a little girl – those memories are still as vivid as ever.

A few hours before the sun went down we went back to camp.  We turned on some country music and began BBQ’ing our oysters.  This was such a delight for me – I loveeeee oysters!  The wine was outa this world good and perfect complement to the oysters.  We enjoyed them with a kale salad.  We made a large fire and began to cook ourselves some smore’s.  The evening wound down and to my surprise I was tired so I went to bed right as the sun set, knowing that the following day I had planned another adventure in Point Reyes for us…

Easter Sunday, we woke up again as the sun rose… this time, rain came along as well.  We hustled to pack up our campsite and get Biggie in the car before he was drenched.  He still smelled like a wet dog but it was tolerable.  We drove down south from Dillon Beach and into Point Reyes Station.  It was a downfall of rain at this point in the morning so we were relieved to find the brunch spot I choose wasn’t too packed for Easter Sunday.  The Station House Café had wonderful reviews on Yelp, and the food looked delicious.  I was eager to bring my boyfriend there as he is a huge brunch guy. They had a special menu for Easter Sunday – from which I ordered Dungeness crab on avocado toast, and my boyfriend had the Croque Madame.  Both dishes were out of this world.  We took home a bag of their housemade granola and enjoyed a few mimosas.  After brunch we walked down to the Cowgirl Creamery.  The girl who helped us provided excellent service and gave us a tasting of 8 different cheeses.  We walked out with the Bay Blue Cheese, and Red Hawk both for our moms.

The ending to our Point Reyes Station day was heading to the Heidrun Meadry where we learned about sparkling wine (champagne) that is derived from honey instead of grapes.  These were absolutely the sweetest sparkling wines I have ever sipped.  You can notice the hints of the various aromas that the honey is derived from, and almost a sweet fruit flavor to each tasting.   We took home a rosemary plant from the meadery to add to our herb garden back home, and got back on the road for the two hour journey south.

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Puerto Vallarta

Early last month I had the lovely opportunity to travel down below the border to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  The excursion was a destination party spot for a bachelorette party of 9 girls.  The beaches were warm, the sand was soft, and the people were incredibly friendly.

We spent our first day laying under a cabana on the beach; catching up, getting to know one another better, and to most of our surprises getting burnt like lobsters. Despite the layers of sunblock and direct avoidance of the sun, we all walked away with bad burns ranging from just a touch of pink to borderline first degree burns.

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The first evening brought out a lovely rooftop dinner with the most spectacular views over the city. Rolling hills with buildings amidst a sea of flourishing lush greenery. We could hear the most magnificent evening church bells just as the sun set over the city.IMG_7401

The restaurant, Hacienda San Angel, was the home to one of Elizabeth Taylor’s former husbands; the most romantic Spanish style pueblo, with a full open courtyard in the center of the mansion. It was later bought by a San Francisco woman who then turned it into a pet-friendly hotel.

For dinner, I had a stuffed Chile poblano with saffron rice. The rice was so decadent it almost melted in my mouth. This was an incredible find and quite a beautiful experience.

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Our second day in Puerto was our primary adventure day. We woke up to a beautiful sunrise/gorgeous day and headed off to the marina. We went boating throughout the Banderas Bay and saw beautiful beach destinations on the coast. We jumped off the boat to go snorkeling by a cove; then docked at Yelapa beach, a fun and interesting little village where we rode horses (more like donkeys) up to a waterfall. Our group was having wild fun, taking shots at every turn – even while on the horses at bars we could ride up to.

The waterfall lagoon was gorgeous and peaceful, just at the edge of the village where you could see aspects of the rain-forest trickling in on either side of the rock formations. We followed the trail back down through the village and out to the beach for lunch.

IMG_7407Some of us paddle boarded in the cove and others hung back to drink. Paddle boarding against ocean waves on both feet is no easy task. The waves were crashing in hard, and the sky was getting cloudy, so at that point, the group gathered up and we got back into the boat. The boat ride home consisted of continuing to party and dance while taking tequila shots.

The third day was spent on a larger boat, equipped with an open bar and two water slides. This time we were whale watching, dolphin watching, and stopped at a small island to bird watch. We spent most the day on the boat drinking and dancing and enjoying the sun.  Later on we were highly entertained by watching one another drop off the water slides into the water from this two-story boat. After a day of boat tripping, some of us wound down for the night to the resort, while others went out on the town to hunt for street tacos.

Our final day and departing day happened to also be my birthday. A good friend of mine and I went to the resort spa, pampered ourselves to get our nails done and then headed back to California. The sunny and adventurous destination of Puerto Vallarta is gorgeous. I would like to go back and explore again, and check out a few recommended locations:

 

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